Martin Keown has been extremely critical of Aaron Ramsey recently, suggesting that his presence in the midfield ruins things (via the Daily Mail).
The Arsenal legend believes Ramsey’s tendency to race forward and make marauding runs leaves us exposed, which “kills” our midfield and loses us games.
“Ramsey kills that midfield. He empties it by flying forward trying to win the game. He ends up losing it for them instead,” he wrote.
“In 2004 we had an internal meeting to tell the wingers [Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg] that they had to help us by keeping the shape when required.
“They were flying forward and we were exposed. So when we shouted ‘shape’ during a game they got back and it worked. That is what Arsenal need now but I don’t see that.”
It’s hard not to notice just how much we miss Santi Cazorla in midfield, and partnerships we’ve seen involving Mathieu Flamini, Aaron Ramsey, Mohamed Elneny, and Francis Coquelin just haven’t been as strong. Coquelin and Cazorla compliment each other perfectly, while Aaron Ramsey just doesn’t work quite as well. He’s unquestionably an excellent midfielder, but he seems to operate on his own rather than combining well with his midfield partner.
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Before Francis Coquelin’s sending off against Tottenham the partnership of he and Elneny was working well, while Ramsey was thriving out wide. He had more freedom to get forward and make the overlapping runs he’s become known for, and our midfield benefited from him playing in a more advanced role.
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Although Ramsey sees himself as a central midfielder, it’s still unclear where his future lies. Arguably his best position is as a free-roamer or as a form of No.10, but there is no way he’s going to feature there ahead of Mesut Özil. The question is, where does he fit into the team once Cazorla is back? Will he be preferred to a more natural wide man on the flanks again? Or is his position under threat?